So I am not a huge fan of Gears of War, I like them and all don’t get me wrong but the first couple were just ok cover based shooters. Never found them to be outstanding but I got them both for like $50 when The Warehouse was doing a Buy 2 get 1 Free deal though admittedly they both sat in my backlog till I had nothing else to play. The third game was a step up that I genuinely enjoyed, it was still over the top and melodramatic but it was a tighter experience overall. I ended up getting the Grears 4 version of the Xbox One so I wasn’t expecting much other than a game to keep me going until I got something else I was actually interested in, but you what? I wholeheartedly loved the fourth game it was again a huge step forward with a lot of fun and some incredibly sleek gameplay. Needless to say I was super curious on just how Gears 5 would fare.
First of all the thing that struck me the most was just how beautiful it looked, I’m not a creature that needs to have the best visuals of all time. Graphics are very low on my list as to what makes a good game to the point where I don’t really care what it ultimately looks like, Vib Ribbon is one of my favourite games of all time and that is entirely black and white, 2D and only made with like 2 lines. With views like that you can believe me when I say that Gears 5 looks utterly amazing and that is just on the standard Xbox One S, but I did my due diligence and went over to a friends to do co-op on a One X with 4K set up and it was just a thing of beauty. The graphics are just top notch and were easily the very first thing to gush over as it just looks beautiful. That beauty however I didn’t think would translate over to the snowy wasteland of the games second act but I am glad to say I was wrong. Shading with whites, blues and accents of back just make it all pop so well.
The tight graphics flows through to the controls which are sleeker and slicker than they ever have been in the franchise, a cover based shooter or just about any third person action/shooter I can think of. I can recall times earlier on in the franchise when I wanted to dodge but would get stuck on a wall or try to sprint and get stuck a wall but we have come so far since then. I have had zero problems with the controls, everything works better than it should aiming, shooting, dodging, covering, it all works with zero hassle. In co-op you have the option as playing as one of the series floating robots and that too I couldn’t fault, there was no problems with floatiness or sluggish turning that you may assume a huge chunk of metal may give you. It was all good.
There is also some really cool stuff introduced with this fifth entry like a story that straddles the line of fun and drama pretty damn well that never feels over the top or cheesy. Old characters, places and plots are shown off in a really fresh way that all seems relevant to the game at hand. The developers have even managed to throw in open world gameplay that simply works, nothing about it seems out of place or just trying to do what the cool kids are doing, it works for the franchise incredibly well.
Unfortunately it isn’t all good, at least for now. Between playing solo with myself and co-op with a friend and at times his son very similar problems kept plaguing us. The social aspects of the game constantly drop with its connections being rather lackluster at times. At times if we quit out during to the title to have a break and jump back in later we would have issues just trying to get back into the game which could take several tries as the game would just keep dropping. I was however lucky enough that this only seemed to happen during co-op which we attributed to influx of gamers on the servers. The worst glitch to happen though is an infinite save loop which would randomly happen both in solo and co-op in which you would try entire a new area by busting a door or melting a lock and the game would then try to save and load the next segment only to not load anything and save indefinitely. Some of these times nothing could be done, no guns fired or pause menu brought up and with no way to go back I had to reset the console. There have also been other occasional bugs and glitches with the more gregarious being no enemies loaded when there clearly should be and the AI not doing anything as it believes it is in combat again leaving me stuck.
The good thing about these flaws is that they are completely patch able and should be worked out by the games actual release. Fans of the franchise will love, if you haven’t played any Gears games before you are in for a treat if you start now and considering it is on Gamepass which is currently $2 for 2 months you would be insane not to give in as this game blows the water away with its competition.
Zombie reviewed Gears 5 on the Xbox One S and Xbox X through the Xbox Gamepass Membership.